Brazil’s Boom and Bust in Tanzania: A Case Study of Naivety?

Barnaby Dye

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Brazil experienced a dramatic see-saw in relations with Africa in the first two decades of the twenty-first century. Booming ties in diplomacy, development cooperation and trade saw Brazil established as a major partner for the continent under the leadership of Lula’s PT administration. Subsequent governments increasingly dismantled many of the policies supporting this boom. However, this collapse, and what it signifies about Brazil’s Africa relations, is still little understood, and more widely, there are few detailed case studies of this trend. This chapter tackles both gaps with a study of Brazil-Tanzania, which mirrored the wider boom and bust. Its analysis demonstrates the degree to which the spread of ties beyond lusophone countries was state-initiated, with diplomacy playing a central role, but then implemented by companies who shaped what occurred ‘on the ground’. This created a weakness in Brazil-Africa relations, given Brazil’s presidential system and its influence over foreign policy priorities and development cooperation spending. Additionally, the chapter introduces the concept of naivety amongst Brazilian actors, as a misreading of Tanzanian politics prevented infrastructure companies from establishing projects. However, the chapter concludes by arguing that any understanding of Brazil-Africa must appreciate the crucial role of African agency. As demonstrated here by Tanzanian politicians and government officials, countries on the continent fundamentally shape the processes, activities and successes of Brazilian involvement.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationBrazil-Africa Relations in the 21st Century
Subtitle of host publicationFrom Surge to Downturn and Beyond
PublisherSpringer Nature
Number of pages11
ISBN (Print)9783030557195
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms

  • Global Development Institute


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